All you need is love…crooned the Beatles, but what if there isn’t much love to pass around in your life?
Well, you can always love yourself. In fact, you should definitely invest time and energy in self-love not only because it will make you feel good, but also because it will make life seem more beautiful and rewarding.
Women who love and pamper themselves enjoy better mental health, stick to their self-improvement and healthy lifestyle habits, fulfill their professional duties with lesser anxiety, and tackle obstacles more effectively than those who retreat into a shell of self-loathing and apathy.
Self-love varies from person to person.
‘To love yourself’ may mean different things to different women. I, for one, love to pamper myself with short trips and getaways as often as I can. Nothing expensive but a change of place and pace works wonders for my rather routine life and – best of all – gives me the opportunity to make new friends. And I’m not even that social or extroverted.
Even the simplest things that put a smile on your face or remind you of your special talent can reinforce your positive relationship with yourself.
Here are ten suggestions.
1. SPEND TIME WITH ANYONE WHO WANTS TO HANG OUT WITH YOU
I don’t mean random strangers but friends who haven’t been on your radar for a while or colleagues who know you and work closely with you on projects.
Conversation, laughter, sharing and introspection will release mental burden, force you to get out of the ‘I hate life’ mode, and boost your self-esteem. Check out this Psychology Today article explaining how friends improve your self-confidence.
2. DUST OFF YOUR READING LIST
Reading improves brain function. Fiction transports you to magical lands and into the lives of exciting characters. Self-help books offer you hacks and techniques to develop new skills and better your life. Non-fiction expands your worldview and makes you stop looking at everything with rose-tinted glasses!
Get the wine glasses ready, put on a comfy pair of slippers and curl up with a good book.
3. DO WHAT YOU LOVE OR WHAT YOU'RE GOOD AT
Have a good set of pipes? Join a local band, make visits to karaoke clubs in your area, or scour for choral opportunities in your city. Are you in reasonably good shape? How about sweating it out at a trek, rock climbing, squash or charity marathon?
Treat yourself to sports and adventure, ideally something collaborative that is as much about camaraderie as it is about competition.
4. CONFRONT YOUR FEELINGS
As Eckhart Tolle says, face your own suffering. Practice mindfulness to focus on what you are feeling at a given moment and accept those thoughts without judgment. The more you bottle up your feelings, whether or not they have to do with self-acceptance, the greater the disconnect between you and all that is wonderful about you and occurring around you.
Feel anger, sadness, emptiness or any other negative emotion fully.
Let it out; talk it out. You’ll be surprised at how easily you can move on from that terribleness.
5. REWARD YOURSELF WITH A SHOPPING TRIP
Shopping is therapeutic. If your closet needs a do-over or it’s high time you dressed to impress – at the office party, gym or private membership club – be a practical fashionista. Check out this eye-catching Muse Seamless Sports Bra and this elegant Dash Seamless Leggings from our seamless line.
6. DANCE LIKE NO ONE'S WATCHING
Dancing releases feel-good endorphins in the bloodstream. Put on some music and groove to it. Don’t care if you’re looking sexy or wacky doing all those moves you practiced as a teen. Doesn’t matter if you’re listening to Pharrell, AC/DC or Mendelssohn. As long as there is something to move to, sweat it out and get giddily happy.
7. PLAN YOUR IDEAL DAY
When your daily schedule starts becoming unrealistic, resulting in rushed work, super-quick lunches, very little time for family and general irritability, pause and reflect on how you can make your day productive, enjoyable and stress-free.
You may need to lean on your friends, family members, coworkers and your wider social network. Smart strategies will allow you to focus on yourself and acknowledge that you’re only human after all.
8. SCHEDULE A FULL DAY MASSAGE & BEAUTY TREATMENTS
How I look affects how I feel, on some days at least.
Nicely filed nails, bouncy hair from an hour-long hair spa, unclogged pores and lustrous skin from a fruit facial, and eyebrows on point do add a spring in my step. I suspect it is the same for you and most women.
Go ahead, book a weekend of beauty treatments – it’s the kind of self-love and pampering your body and mind deserve!
9. PLAN A DAY'S TRIP OR PICNIC TO A LOCAL GREENSPACE
Yes, walking in nature changes the brain and is an excellent antidote to depression brought on by self-loathing. Breathe in fresh air, bask in the sunlight, let the breeze flow through your hair and feel the soft grass under your palms and feet. You will feel privileged to live on this beautiful planet constraint-free with exciting possibilities ahead!
10. PAINT THE TOWN RED
No amount of nutritious eating and exercise will matter much if you aren’t spending a few hours each week really letting your hair down and spending time with people you care about.
Celebrate being alive with a few drinks and new sightings in the company of your best buddies. Even if only one friend is available, don’t cancel the fun. Partying is one of the purest forms of self-love because the only motivation to go is to have fun and express your true self.
When you love yourself, you stop caring about the small slights and petty people, and start looking at the big picture and fully experiencing the moments that matter.
Practice self-love and expand possibilities – the world is waiting for you.